New York Knicks v Boston Celtics

Bucks may be the team that makes a big offer to J.R. Smith


There have been a few teams reportedly interested in pursuing the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in J.R. Smith, but any offer to pry him away from the Knicks would have to come at a fairly high price.

New York can only offer Smith a four-year deal in the neighborhood of $25 million under their current cap situation, and with players like J.J. Redick and Kevin Martin already receiving more than that with their new teams, Smith figures to be in line for a bigger payday if he chooses to go out and get it.

The team that may step up first to offer that is the Milwaukee Bucks.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

The Bucks, who have gutted their team and have plenty of cap space, are shaping up as the leading suitor for J.R. Smith.

But if Smith leaves the Knicks to get more bucks in Milwaukee, he will find himself in a rebuilding program. That’s the decision the Freehold, N.J., native, has to make.

Take less to stay with the hometown Knicks, who can offer a four-year, roughly $25 million contract — which comes to $6.25 million a season after yearly raises — or follow the “green’’ jerseys of Milwaukee or another under-the-cap club willing to make a four-year commitment. The market value is being set for him to get an offer of at least $7 million per year.

Smith has enjoyed playing in New York, perhaps even a bit too much at times. Milwaukee isn’t close in terms of the activities it can provide outside of basketball, so it’s likely that the Bucks would have to overpay significantly to get Smith to consider leaving a good team in a great city for whatever Milwaukee’s franchise has to offer.

A deal starting at what Monta Ellis turned down to stay with the Bucks — $36 million over three years — just might do the trick.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Clippers ready to win West?

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With our PBT Extra videos, we are previewing the entire NBA by using bold predictions, starting in the Pacific Division (we already did the Warriors).

Some of those predictions come from fans on Twitter where I had sent out a request, including the bold prediction for the Clippers.

It could happen, they are certainly contenders. But two things need to happen.

The big one is their defense, which was middle of the pack last season, needs to move into the top 10 (and DeAndre Jordan needs to play consistently like a guy who is third in Defensive Player of the Year voting).

Second is the new and improved bench unit of Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford (he’s not new) need to mesh into a unit. Those are three guys who like to create for themselves and make questionable shot choices, getting them play well with others could be a bumpy road.

Stephen Curry gives high five while his shot is in air (video)

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Stephen Curry said the defending-champion Warriors would have no problem picking up where they left off.

His swagger certainly remains intact.